FYI (pardon the crossposts)...

African Languages & ICT for Development in Africa:
Rationale for, potential of, & resources to facilitate localization

A seminar presentation, midway through the "Year of African Languages"

Thursday 22 June 2006, 2:00 - 6:00
World Bank "I" Street Building, I1-200
Washington, D.C.

During this, the Year of African Languages,* the PanAfrican Localisation project would like to briefly examine the

importance of these languages for development in Africa with particular attention to their use in information and

communication technology (ICT). This workshop will help raise awareness and set the context for discussion of

African languages in ICT for development, and also introduce some resources for localization of software and

internet content.

The indigenous languages and linguae francae of Africa have tended to be neglected in development discourse

and practice and it has been said that international donors and development experts generally see African

multilingualism as a hindrance for development on that continent. The occasion of the Year of African Languages

provides an incentive to begin with a reconsideration of the importance of Africa's first languages in practical as

well as cultural terms.

Moreover, with the increasing access to ICT in Africa on the one hand, and worldwide exploration of the

multilingual potentials of the technology on the other, we have an opportunity to consider how user interfaces and

internet content can optimally meet the complex linguistic profile of African societies (without contesting the

utility of Anglophone and Francophone ICT for a certain range of users and uses).

The seminar will include a screening of a new documentary on the "African Languages and Literatures into the

21st Century" conference held in January 2000, and presentations by Dr. Don Osborn, Daniel Yacob on localization

in African contexts.

The seminar is presented by the PanAfrican Localisation Project, which is funded by the International Development

Research Centre and carried out by Bisharat, Ltd. and Kabissa - Space for Change in Africa. For more information,

see or contact Don Osborn at dzo at

* The Year of African Languages was declared by the African Union in January 2006

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